Ovarian Differentiation and Aberrant
Müllerian Duct Development in Chinese Soft-shelled Turtle
Estrogens play critical roles in ovarian differentiation and female
reproductive organ development in non-mammalian vertebrates; however,
such estrogen effects have poorly been studied in reptiles. For
example, two estrogen receptor (ESR) subtypes (ESR1 and ESR2) have been
identified in amniotes, but their specific roles remain elusive. We
showed that E2 (agonist for both ESR1 and ESR2) and PPT (ESR1-specific
agonist) could induce ovarian differentiation and Müllerian duct
(Primordia of female reproductive tract) development in ZZ (genetic
male) embryos of the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis.
Furthermore, the stimulation of PPT lead to an abnormal maturation or
growth (hyperplasia and glandular development) of the Müllerian duct.
These results revealed that ESR1 is a possible primary ESR subtypes
mediating gonadal differentiation and female reproductive organ
development in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle. Our findings shed light
on the underlying mechanisms for sex determination and reproductive
organ biology in vertebrates.
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